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Griefwalker – Screening of the national film board of Canada feature documentary about the work of Stephen Jenkinson

18th May 2019 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm


Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLQWM2j3AVg

Griefwalker is a lyrical poetic portrait of the work of Stephen Jenkinson who is the author of Die Wise, the founder of the Orphan Wisdom School in Ontario, and who for five years headed the counselling team Canada’s largest home-based palliative care facility.

Griefwalker is a national film board of Canada feature documentary filmed over 12 years by director Tim Wilson. Griefwalker shows Jenkinson in teaching sessions with doctors and nurses, in counselling sessions with dying people and their families, and meditative and often frank exchanges with the film’s director while paddling a birchbark canoe about the origins and consequences of his ideas for how we live and die.

A few of the themes appearing in the film: Where does our culture’s death phobia come from? Is there such a thing as good dying? How is it that grief could be a skill instead of an affliction? Who are the dead to us? How can seeing your life’s end be the beginning of your deep love of being alive?

Film screening followed by questions/discussion
Time – doors open at 19.00 refreshments available, film is 70 minutes long and we will start at 19.30. Time for discussion after the film for those who want to stay.

‘Death, dying and grief, as the Dying Matters Coalition (http://www.dyingmatters.org/) acknowledge are so often taboos – we can feel awkward, unsure, embarrassed, scared and more when death, dying and loss is in the room. The impact this has on those who are dying or have been bereaved can be deeply isolating and confusing. As another friend of mine who died recently acknowledged, there were friends she ‘lost’ before she died as they struggled to find a way to be with her in her dying. It is heart-wrenching and perplexing for me to witness so many people not talking with or connecting to people they loved who were dying.

Being a student these past 4 years of Stephen Jenkinson, for me an exceptional human being and teacher, author of ‘Die Wise’ and subject of Griefwalker, has more fully seasoned me to the enormous necessity of developing some rooted skillfulness in grief. As Jenkinson says: “…grief is not a skill of coping and hoping and, when they fail, doping…. and it is not scraping through or getting by until the hard parts of life are done with. Grief is an ability to know certain things about life well and an ability to proceed in your life as if they were true. Very few people seek grief out or want to get good at it, but grief is an ability as vital to our emotional and spiritual life as the skill of love”

So, why show a film about death, dying and grief? Partly because as Dying Matters Coalition recognise, not being confident and skilled to have the ‘Big Conversation’ can lead to real distress. Partly because of someone who wrote me: “Seeing the film Griefwalker, while knowing that my husband might die soon because of his heart disease, has inspired me to go for the best possible connection/bond in the last part of our life together”. Partly because I think that far from being depressing, grief is joined at the hip with love and gives us a path to be fully alive.

Whether we find ourselves navigating the terrain of death, the end of a relationship or a career, the end of robust health we have become accustomed to, or the significant and increasing changes in our world and our environment, no matter the flavour of the heartbreak, all manner of endings ask big things of us. I am drawn deeply to these matters and I come to sense grief as a long-forgotten and necessary ingredient in our humanness.’

Thank you to Gayano for the words above taken from our first screening events in 2016

“The crucible of making human beings is death… It’s not success, it’s not growth, it’s not happiness, it’s death that’s the cradle of your love of life – the fact that it ends.” Stephen Jenkinson

Please contact me to book your place or book through Eventbrite here.


18th May 2019
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Event Category:


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